Spring 2016 Visit USA Program
Nodoka Onodera, Kesennuma High School
This program not only improved my English skills but gave me insight to the American culture and life styles, which I had not known until then. The Horace Mann School and its students are so different. The classes are small, and students speak a lot. I was impressed by how the students take a lead in discussion. Now I’m trying to speak out back in my classes. I used to be quiet, only listening to teachers, so first I felt shy and embarrassed. Now I know I learn more if I ask questions.
In addition, I was reminded how you must be considerate of others. My host family, students at Horace Mann and Yale University, Ashita-Tomorrow staff, and all those people who helped this program possible, were kind. I owe them a lot. I felt their kindness in talking with them. They tried to talk in simpler English or slowly to make me understand them, and to understand what I tried to say, though incoherent and with many mistakes. I appreciate their consideration and I will make good use of this experience. I also try to be kind to others.
I was extremely nervous at giving speech at Horace Mann School, I became more relaxed for the second time at Yale University. Many people came to talk to me after my speech. I am glad they now know a little bit about the disaster hit areas. I am convinced it is important to tell my thoughts (I hadn’t given until then) as one of the people responsible for recovery of the area. And for my future.
My dear host family are very kind. They took me to many places: the Statue of Liberty, supermarkets in the neighborhood, their Connecticut house, a candy-bar, etc. I observed and learned a lot. Especially Ground Zero, commemorating September 11 attack victims gave a big impression on me with fear on human-led disaster and terrorism. You may not be able to prevent natural disaster. I was saddened by the fact so many lives were lost by the disaster which might have been stopped. The host family made a point of talking with me on many topics. I told them about the 3.11 disaster and my hometown. My host father took me to many places after he finished working, my host mother cooked delicious meals and even did laundry while I was away to Yale, Grace talked to me in our room and took me to many kinds of classes. I will keep in touch with them through SNS and emails. If I have a chance to host foreign students in my family, I would make sure to offer such warm hospitality as I received. I also want to accept different people and respect them.
Mayu Kanno, Sendai Ikuei Gakuen High School
I like the Horace Mann School that offers variety of classes and allows students to take classes of their choice. Those classes such as video-making, pottery, art history, orchestra, which we don’t have in Japan, were very interesting. All the classes are very lively: students constantly raise their hands and have heated discussion. The students develop more interests and understanding on issues. In Ms. Fujisaki’s Japanese language classes, the students gave us questions. They would not mind speaking in faltering Japanese. Their attitude and determination to speak Japanese is very impressive. In Japan, we are afraid of making mistakes, thus reluctant to speak in English. I made a decision to speak and ask questions in classes in Japan.
This Program gave me significant experiences, happy or difficult. I recognized good points of Japan, being away from it. I also realized the importance and difficulty to “challenge” and “initiate.” You have to ask on your side, “how to use shower?” “Where are we going?” Otherwise, you don’t know today’s schedule. You cannot remain passive as we are in Japan. I tried to ask questions. However, their English was fast and a full of unknown words. I would have enjoyed much more, talking with them if I had a good command of spoken English. I am determined more than ever to study English harder.
Ryo Mikami, Sendai Ikuei Gakuen High School
I sincerely wished I were one of the Horace Mann students! I got at a loss many times, but it was so exciting to follow Horace Mann students from one class to another. I was reminded you would go to study on your own will. The students were very lively and seem to be proud of their school I am also proud of studying at Ikuei Gakuen with more than 100-year history. I would like to have friendly competition with Horace Mann students and go forward to find my own future.
At Horace Mann and Yale University, many people came to listen to our speeches. I was full of power! It would be nice if they think about 3.11 and other disasters. I talked with Kai who let me stay in his Yale dorm about differences in many cultures.
My host family were very kind. I felt at home since they tried to talk to me often. They want to go to Japan sometime in the future. I will study about the history of Sendai, my home town and Kyoto to be a guide to them. They took me to many places, such as Metropolitan Museum, the Yankee’s Stadium, Grand Zero, thus I came to understand why New York City is the center of the world. I look forward to meeting my host family and Horace Mann students again soon.
Fuka Ito, Sendai Ikuei Gakuen High School
Horace Mann students are very active in every class. They raise their hands, give their opinions and ask questions. I would like to be like them when I go back home. The students are very friendly. You met them once in classes, then they greet you or talk to you when you meet in the hallway. Before I gave a speech about my experience of 3.11 disaster, I was very nervous and they came to talk to me to relax me. I was glad they also told me they liked my talk.
On Sunday, next day after our arrival, I met the Horace Mann students who had come to Sendai for Ashita-Tomorrow Express Yourself! workshop last March. We all spent afternoon together, rowing boats in Central Park, and walking to Times Square.
At Yale, I was happy to meet face-to-face Vernon, my Skype Session partner since last October. The campus is beautiful, mixed with nature and sophisticated buildings. I was also happy to find the people listened to my speech and understood what I wanted to convey. They came to me with questions. Some students, taking Japanese language classes, talked to me in Japanese. They tried so hard. So, I was motivated to talk in English although my English is not fluent yet.
My host mother took me to Brookline Bridge, Stock Exchange, and the park where you can see the Statue of Liberty. She gave me a lot of advices about college education and choice of future career. New York is a beautiful town. I learned about its culture when she took me to museums and Freedom Tower.
Now I regret I did not talk much with my host sister. I could not follow what the family discussed in the mornings. I lost confidence in my English to talk to her in school bus.
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Spring 2015 Visit USA Program - Click here to close this section
Spring 2015 Visit USA Program
Ayumi Honda, Fukushima National College of Technology
Everything I experienced in America became unforgettable memories. I’m so glad that I could join this great program.
In Horace Mann School, many people welcomed me with hospitality. The classes were exciting. I was amazed by watching how students participate in a class and how teachers teach them. They are different and wonderful comparing with the Japanese students and teacher. For example, students can discuss with teacher freely. One class is composed of less than 20 students. The Horace Man students have high motivation toward their study. This fact gives me motivation .
In Yale University, I spent a nice time with my partner of Ashita Skype session. Many facilities in Yale University were grand. I felt happy because they were what I had imagined. I had thought Yale was a so far away for many reasons. Who could expect I could stay there?
I made a speech in Horace Mann and Yale. Many people listened to my speech carefully, and some of them gave me meaningful questions. I wanted to say “thank you” to them because they still have interests in the disaster.
My host family was great. They were so kind and funny. They took me to many places. I always felt happy whenever I had conversations with them. I got along with them because of their considerations.
I love New York and the people who supported me in many situations during this trip. I am going to go back there. Thank you for everything.
Riona Shike, Fukushima National College of Technology
I was filled with a sense of achievement when I came back to Japan. I had worried about my speech before I left for America because my speech was not so pleasant. But a lot of people praised me very much at Horace Mann School. I was so happy to have everyone praise me. Also it was amazing experience that we discussed Iwaki’s problems at Yale University.
My host family was very kind, friendly. They took me to a lot of wonderful places like Rockefeller Center, MOMA, Times Square and Broadway musical! Everything was first for me so I had a valuable experience. I went to school with my host sister. I tagged along her to some classes. These classes were very different from Japanese classes. I was very surprised at first but I love these classes. The teachers were very nice, energetic so I really enjoyed all classes. Also I got a few friends. I want to keep in touch with them. I love New York because there are a lot of beautiful stuffs, people. I hope I can go back there someday. I am really grateful for Ashita-Tomorrow. It gave me a wonderful opportunity to learn a lot of important things. Now I would love to contribute to this program! I appreciate again all people, my friends, host family and Ashita-Tomorrow.
Thank you so much.
Kana Sagawa, Iwaki High School, Fukushima
Thank you for giving me such a wonderful opportunity! This program enabled me to make a speech about Fukushima and my experiences, to do homestay, to go to an American high school. I had wanted to do these things for a long time. Through this program, I developed so much.
When I was making the draft of my speech with Ms. Miwa of Ashita-Tomorrow, I could face the disaster and myself. Before, I was scared to think about the earthquakes. I may have run away from my experiences. But Ms. Niwa changed me. She listened to me patiently. I was encouraged by her. I could talk anything with her. I talked about my school life, troubles and so on. I could get the new ways of thinking. I really enjoyed talking with her. I could give a good speech. Thank you so much, Ms. Niwa.
During my stay in the USA, my best experience was to go to a high school. Horace Mann School is a great school. I like it so much. I can receive education based on diversity. All classes are special.
I learned a lot of things from this experience. It will be beneficial in my life. I have to study harder than ever so that I can realize my dream. Through this program, I could meet many people. Someday, I would like to see all of them again and say thank you to them. I’ll never forget this experience. It must be the greatest memory in my teens. Thank you so much for supporting me. I would like to see you soon.
Eiji Ito, Kesennuma High School, Miyagi
I had never been to America. This was my first time there. I learned many things. For example, communication is very important to understand each other and you contact them with a smile. My host family was always friendly. My host brother, Parker could speak Japanese. So I have been helped by him many times. We were able to discuss my experience of the earthquake and other things.
American people listened to our speech seriously. I think that we must not forget the experience of the disaster. This program is very valuable for me. I will go back to America after I grow up. Thank you very much.
Kaito Sato, Kesennuma High School, Miyagi
I think talking and playing is the best memory in this program. It was important for me to talk with my friends in America. I joined a party and tried to talk to American people in English. They enjoyed talking with me and taught me about school.
My friends study Japanese hard. So I have to study English hard, too. I exchange emails with them.
I went to famous places in NY with my host family. My host mother likes shopping. I like shopping, too. She gave me a present a nice coat. Now I wear it.
This program gave me nice experiences and may affect my life. I would like to go to NY again. I would to see the friends there, or they are coming to Japan to see me!
Spring 2014 Visit USA Program - Click here to close this section
Shino Yamauchi, Kesennuma High School in Miyagi Pref.
I discovered a lot of things in this program. By going to school and living with my host family, I could find out difference of culture and school life between America and Japan. I was surprised at what American students are active and have their own opinion. In Japan, students are negative and they worry about mind of other people. American students think their own opinion is most important. It is very wonderful. Japanese should model this thing. I couldn’t find this thing without going to America.
I was glad to talk with many students in school and become friends. All students are very kind for me and energy, so my school life in America was very interesting. But I also found that I can’t speak English very well. I thought that it is important to understand not only grammar but speaking. I will study English more hard and I want to communicate with a lot of foreign people.
In Horace Man School and Yale College, many people listen to our speech about the earthquake. I was impress by their seriousness. I was very glad to tell about the earthquake and it was a great experience for me. I wish people who listen to our speech will not forget about the earthquake and start to think about Japan. Also I would like to want to tell about the earthquake as a person living in the disaster area.
I met a lot of people in this program. Staff of Ashita, students of Iwaki High School, host family, and students of Horace Man School and Yale College. We lost many things by the earthquake. However, if the earthquake didn’t happen, there are a lot of people I couldn’t meet. I would like to treasure this encounter and continue communicating with people I met in this program.
This program is precious experience and I will never forget this program. I would like to make use of things I learned in this program for my life.
Haruka Taniuchi, Kesennua High School in Miyagi Pref.
This was my first oversea experience. I left Japan with anxiety. But I enjoyed this trip very much. I like using English, but I could not speak English well. Therefore, I learned a lot from my mistakes. I could not have learned a lot if I were afraid of making mistakes in speaking in English. I learned that I couldn’t gain anything without facing my fear. It was difficult for me to learn a different culture from mine. But thanks to kindness of Ms. Okada and my host family, I could ask questions without hesitations. I had a great time with people in US. I was very grateful for them listening to my story on the disaster.
This was my first home-stay experience, and I had great host family. They prepared healthy foods that were easy for my body conditions. Also, they showed me around the city of New York. They taught me their living customs. It was the fresh experience for me. I found good nature in American people as well as in Japanese people. This is my opinion that American people have their opinions and are able to communicate their thoughts with others very well. Japanese people, on the other hand, value on showing respect when they communicate.
I have one thing that I regret. I wish I could speak English better. If I could speak English better, then I have been able to communicate with more students and American people. Therefore, I have decided to study hard every day. I would like to communicate with my host family in fluent English. This trip became the treasure of my life’s experiences.
Hina Hakozaki, Iwaki High School in Fukushima Pref.
I was filled with a sense of fulfillment because I could achieve my aim.
First, I could tell about what we experienced in the Tohoku earthquake and our gratitude for their support through two speeches at Horace Mann School and Yale University, communication and showing pictures. I had wanted to tell many people about them during this trip. I was impressed that they tried to understand our feeling. I was said “Thank you for your telling about what you experienced.” The word made me happy.
Next, I met directly not only Monica who I talk on Skype every week but also many people who I hadn’t told. I learned that smiling and trying to have good relationship are very important. If we smile, we are able to be good friends each other.
Third, I had very nice days because my host family was very kind for me. They taught me about American culture and customs. When I couldn’t understand what some people told in English, they told me in Japanese. In addition, we ride on taxies and subways when we went some popular places. I could make many memories with them and I was very happy to be a member of their family. So I really felt sad when I had to say to them “Good bye.”
I think I was changed because of this trip. Before this trip, I was bad to express my feeling, and my opinion. However, I became to be able to do it because of talking and telling many people about my experiences. I’m so glad.
I became to be able to understand what American told a little, but I couldn’t do it completely. So I’ll try to study harder and talk many things with them someday.
I would like to express my gratitude to everyone of Ashita-Tomorrow. I think this experience will be my treasure forever. It is my new mission to tell many people about what I did and felt during this trip in the future. I will continue to do my best.
Thank you so much.
Saki Yanagiha, Iwaki High School, Fukushima Pref.
I would like to express my gratitude for being my host family, during my short but memorable time in America. It was my first time traveling to America so I was a little scared at first. When I went to Manhattan, I was surprised. It had a lot of tall buildings. I also enjoyed my trip to the Empire State Building, even though we could not see the full view because it was raining. But I was glad to be able to go there with my host sister, Mina, and friends. Fencing was a new sport for me. It was very difficult but with time, patience and hard work perhaps I would get better. I visited many different restaurants. I like hamburger and pizza. The taste and size is very different from in Japan. I want to eat more. I really enjoyed my first trip to America with my host family. I want to say to them " Thank you so much!!"
I was very happy to meet Alyssa. The tour and guidance she gave at Yale University was very informative. The school itself was very large and had a lot of history. I can hardly find the words to express my gratitude for the experience Alyssa and students of the university help to create for us. They were really kind. It was fun for me to talk with them. I am lucky because I can talk to them on Skype. I cannot forget about my experience of eating western style hamburger and pizza. I have had both before but the taste was very new to me. I truly enjoyed.
I was a little nervous about giving a speech about the disaster in Japan which happened 3 years ago, but I was happy I could share our story and help others to really understand how that disaster really affected and changed many people's lives. When some people said to me " I was moved,","Good job,"and" Great," and so on, I thought that it was very important to tell my experience and feelings about disaster. I am proud that I can give a speech in English. I will never forget this experience.
My best memory is to talk to many people. I cannot speak English well so it was hard to talk too much. I tried to understand them as much as possible and tell my idea to them. I like communicating with others. I enjoyed talking. I want to see my friends in America and talk to them.
I would like to thank all people who support us. I am happy to meet Hina, Kento, Shino, Haruka, Ueda-san, Okada-san, Niwa-san, our host family, Horace Mann School students, teachers, Fujisaki-sensei, Alyssa, Kitagawa-san, Yale University students and others. It was painful for me to leave them. If we are able to meet , I will show changed my figure .
Now I can say " I love New York, American food, Horace Mann School, Yale University and the Peak family.
Thank you so much.
Kento Sato, Iwaki High School, Fukushima Pref.
I have experienced many valuable things in NY, America. I could make so many American friends. And I was grad to meet Hina-san, Saki-san, Shino-san and Haruka. Before I went to America, I was nervous. But many Americans were very kind to us. So I could be relax. It was hard for me to make understand in English. But I tried to understand what Americans said. When I could talk with American I was so happy and I
could have confidence.
I will write about my experience in America. My best memory was that I went to Horace Mann school, and I take many classes with some Host students. My favorite class in Horace Mann was Japanese. I thought that all students who take Japanese class were look like very fun. And through doing speech I could tell my thought. I want to do to Horace Mann School again.
We also went to Yale University. I met Marc. I have done Skype with him from October, last year. Yale university was so vast and beautiful. I enjoyed talking with many students. We saw a Japanese movie, “ The Girl Who Leapt Through Time”I felt little sad. We played basketball with Marc in underground of dormitory.
At the night we stayed up late at 1am. It was very fun!
I went to Madison Square Garden to see NBA game with Haruka and Parker and Ike. Parker is a student I Horace Mann and Haruka’s Host Student. Ike is my Host student. we saw very exciting game. To see NBA game is one of my dream. I could make my dream come true in NY!!
My Host Family was so good. I taken a walk with Ike. Ike taken me to many place in Bronxville. For example church and supermarket and so on. I talk with mother and father about place I live. They worried about us. I was happy to know it. I was glad to stay their house.
Finally, I will make use of this experience my future.